While crypto prices surged last year, athletes and politicians opted to receive their paychecks in crypto, which would have dropped in value at today’s prices.
An unmistakable trend in 2021 saw the New York City and Miami mayors taking their paychecks in crypto. Eric Adams, the New York City mayor, said he would receive his first three paychecks in bitcoin and ethereum, using Coinbase to convert dollars into cryptocurrency. His first paycheck was worth $9,925 in January this year, but following the respective dips of 20 and 29% in the price of bitcoin and Ethereum, his salary would now be worth $7,416, assuming equal proportions of bitcoin and ethereum. This downturn has not deterred Mayor Adams, who is still bullish on bitcoin, pointing out the slump in equities this year as proof that the recent cryptocurrency crash is not unique.
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“People who look at bitcoin and say, ‘OK, it’s dropped.’ Well, what stocks have not dropped?” Adams questioned in a recent interview with the Financial Times. His Miami counterpart Francis Suarez remains equally bullish, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos on May 24, 2022, that he still takes his salary in bitcoin. Suarez emphasizes that his government earnings are not his only form of income, which contributed to the decision to keep his paycheck in bitcoin.
“I will note, for the record, that it’s not my only salary,” he said to a Davos panel. “It’s a different decision than if a person was deciding to take their salary in bitcoin if it was the only source of income for them.” Suarez, 44, is a lawyer by profession.
Both mayors turn on the charm
Both Adams and Suarez have been trying to attract crypto enthusiasts and talents to their respective cities, with Adams saying, “Bitcoin is here to stay, and the bulk of investment is here in New York City.” Suarez has pitched South Florida to crypto miners and hopes to make Miami tax-free through MiamiCoin, a city-backed cryptocurrency that can be mined using a home computer. He told the Davos panel that the TerraUSD meltdown had not deterred him in his vision for the city.
Athletes are also jumping on the crypto bandwagon. NFL star Aaron Rogers and Landon Cassill have agreed to receive at least part of their salaries in digital currencies. At the same time, Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence decided to take his $22.6M signing bonus in cryptocurrency, which would have dropped to $9.8 million at current crypto prices.
Taking salary in crypto is ‘idiotic’
Celebrities have received criticism for endorsing cryptocurrencies in the wake of the recent crypto crash. Mark Freebairn, who is the team lead for the hiring of chief financial officers at an executive talent search company Odgers Berndtson in London, said while crypto was hot, it made sense to receive your salary in bitcoin. “Honestly, if we had had this conversation two years ago, I would have said it was a brilliant idea. Why wouldn’t you want your salary in crypto? Now I would say that was idiotic.”
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